Portlandia Chicken Wings

Theme cookbooks from movies and/or shows are generally considered a novelty item, but I would encourage anyone who receive such gifts to actually take the time to cook from them. It’s entertaining and you’d be surprised how good most of the recipes are.

That has been the case for me when it comes to the Portlandia cookbook and I’ve had rewarding experiences with other themed cookbooks as well.  In the case of Portlandia, I have to say this is my favorite so far. So pay attention and try this one out!

What you’ll need.

For the wings

  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper (feel free to add more if you’re a spice freak like me)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder (I used McCormick Asian powder myself if you can’t find Chinese 5-spice)
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 8 large chicken wings (about 3 pounds) split into wingettes and drumettes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of canola oil
  • sliced scallions, for garnish
  • fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

For the duck sauce

  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup of apricot preserves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of minced and peeled fresh ginger

Our first step is to pre-heat the oven to 425, so go ahead and do that. You just turn the knob on your oven to the number that says 425.

While the oven is pre-heating, in a large bowel combine cumin, red pepper flakes, powder, salt, and flour. Not much else to say here, just mix it around until everything looks even.

Next prepare a space where you can coat the chicken with the oil without causing a mess. Be sure to rub the oil evenly so that when we mix it with our spice mix it does the same. When the oil looks even, add the chicken to the spice mix and toss until every piece is coated evenly.

We are now ready to place the chicken on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Do so and brush lightly with more oil before placing in the center of the oven.

Once in the oven, allow to cook for about 50 minutes with one or two breaks to turn the meat over for even cooking.

Even is word of the day for this recipe as it is for most. Cooking is kinda socialist like that what can I say?

While the chicken is roasting, go ahead and make your duck sauce. To do so, combine all duck sauce ingredients in a food processor with a 1/4 cup of water. Blend until it’s smooth and then heat it up in a saucepan over low heat.

The goal is to reduce the sauce to about a 1/2 cup size. Once we reach that goal, you can remove from the heat and display the sauce however you wish.  I displayed by placing in a small white bowl as you can see below.

If your wings happen to be done by now, remove them from the oven, garnish with scallions and cilantro and serve with your duck sauce for dipping on the side.

If you enjoy that, of course. No pressure from me to actually eat them that way, but I like both garnished items myself and the dipping sauce is easy to make, delicious, and can be stored up to a month in your fridge.

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Look at this colorful, appetizing display of chicken wings! Trust me, it’s as good as it looks. I cannot recommend you try this recipe more.

You read the earlier passages, you can suss out how easy this is to make. It’s been Rachel tested and approved with the easy meal stamp.

If you do, I highly recommend you go all the way and make that duck sauce too. It’s so easy. This whole thing is easy. Don’t be lazy! You’ve got this.

If you don’t, though, I won’t judge. I follow the philosophy of the dude and the dude abides.

Cheesy and Nutty Cherry Pie without the Crust

Today’s recipe got me thinking. Remember the song Cherry Pie from 1990?

The other day I was talking to a co-worker and he was telling me about some hangout that 80’s glam rockers would go to in LA to get pie. Actual pie.

Me, being my immature self, cocked an eyebrow and said, “Yeah, I bet they went there to get “pie”. I bet they got a lot of “pie” there.”

The combination of that conversation and this cherry pie like dessert made me wonder if the band Warrant was inspired by this pie eatery.

Wikipedia informed me this wasn’t the case and I learned some other sad and interesting facts about the band Warrant, the cherry pie girl, and the lead singer who sadly passed away a few years ago to alcohol poisoning.

One fact, I found quite inspiring.  The cherry pie girl in the video used coke to slim down for most of her modeling shoots. Now this girl is not rail thin. She has the body that I’d like to have and lately I’ve been feeling bloated, fat, and envious of girls on social media who post photos of their skinny and fashionable selves.

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Look at that coke body!

It’s comforting to know that all I have to do is develop a coke habit and my fat will just slide off.

That’s sarcasm folks. My real feelings are a mix of concern for the model and an admitted smug satisfaction of, “Ha! I bet some of those skinny girls I envy are coke heads!”

I’m not always a wonderful human being.

In conclusion, I discovered that this song is not about cherry pie at all. Not that I’m surprised. This recipe, however is loosely based on cherry pie and comes from Cooking Light.

What you’ll need

  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 15 ounce carton part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon creme de cassis (black currant-flavored liqueur)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds of sweet cherries, pitted
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 3 tablespoons of sliced almonds, toasted

The first step is to combine the rind and ricotta. Set this aside when finished.

Then combine the juice, liqueur, and pepper. You can use a small bowl for this. Now get out a 12 inch skillet that won’t melt in the oven. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of sugar evenly on the skillet. Heat this on medium-high heat for about two minutes or when the sugar starts to melt.

Add the cherries to the pan once the sugar starts to melt and cook for an additional two minutes. Pour the liqueur mixture over the cherries and cook again for two minutes or until the mixture thickens.

The cherries are almost ready to be put in the oven, but we’ve got a few steps left so at this moment you should pre-heat your broiler.

The last steps area as follows. Get a double boiler. If you don’t have one, I don’t, you can make your own by getting a small pan, adding a bit of water in the pan and then placing a bowl of some sort that won’t sink into the pan. Meaning, it’s not so small that it would fit entirely in the pan, but not so big that you can’t have it rest on top.

Whether you have one or not, place the remaining sugar, salt, and egg whites in the bowl or the top of the boiler. Cook this for about two minutes once the water in the pan has simmered.

While it cooks, stir continuously with a whisk. Once cooked, remove and then beat until it stiffens. If you have a mixer this process will be easier. Otherwise you’re just going to have to beat away with a fork for what feels like an eternity.

Add one-fourth of this egg mixture into the ricotta mixture until it has blended well. Keep doing this until all the of the egg whites have been used up.

Finally, evenly spoon in the remaining mixture over the cherries and broil in the oven for three minutes. If in those three minutes, it should be ready for consumption. After you sprinkle it with the almonds that is!

I enjoyed this desert. It’s just enough of a stray from a classic cherry pie to keep things interesting but not in disappointment. The ricotta was a bit much for me, at times. If I made it again, I’d probably add less of it. Then again, a beater, most likely would have given me a different result concerning the egg whites which could have altered the taste of the ricotta.

All in all, I recommend  trying this recipe out. Especially if you enjoy 80’s glam rock and cherry pie at diners.